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article imageChatting with Max Irving: Water polo team player and attacker Special

By Markos Papadatos     Jul 8, 2020 in Sports
USA water polo team member and attacker Max Irving (men's senior team) chatted with Digital Journal's Markos Papadatos about his athletic career and goals for the future.
"Living in quarantine has turned out pretty well," he said. "I've spent time with my family, so it has been great. Typically, I wouldn't have the opportunity to do that because we would have been going to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics had they not been postponed due to the pandemic. I have been healthy and staying active. The national team has kept us engaged in everything that we are doing, including a weight training regimen."
This past January, the USA water polo team beat Greece in Italy. "That was an awesome game for us. Just having international experience at playing at that level is important for us to help us grow and develop," he said. "We are going to take advantage of this year and do things that are necessary to have this year work for us."
Irving revealed that he and fellow teammate Alex Obert were training in Alimos, Greece. On being a swimmer in the digital age, he said, "I think it's great. As a player, you may not be thinking about it as much but for the fans, it's great. It is much easier to critique films of yourself and other teams. There is no shortage of high-level water polo on the Internet between professional leagues and international competitions. I think it's awesome."
American water polo player Max Irving
American water polo player Max Irving
Orange Pictures, USA Water Polo
For Irving and the team, it was "awesome" to win first place at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru. "That was awesome because we really put in a lot of work as a team. That was an emphasis for us going into the summer of 2019. Ultimately, our goal was to qualify for the 2020 Olympics and we accomplished that goal. We were absolutely ecstatic. It was the opportunity of a lifetime and we were victorious. It was truly special," he said.
His advice for young and aspiring water polo players is to "have fun and enjoy the sport." "When you continue to play on the higher levels, you ultimately need to have that joy and enthusiasm within the sport to fall back on because as things become more intense and the emphasis is on winning, it is important to have that love for the game and understand why you are playing, otherwise, it will be a tough road every day," he said.
"Ultimately, be a student of the game and continue to have a growing mindset to continue to improve and accomplish our goals of medaling," he added.
American water polo player Max Irving
American water polo player Max Irving
Orange Pictures, USA Water Polo
On the title of the current chapter of his life, he responded, "Making a difference and inspiring change."
He defined the word success as "peace of mind that is the direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming." "That's what I think success is. You can be successful every day in everything that you do, and you can look at every day as an opportunity to win the day, and become a better person and become a better player," Irving said.
Irving shared that he is also passionate to be a part of the nonprofit organization, The Alliance for Diversity and Equity in Water Polo. "Being one of the few African Americans at the national team level for water polo, my focus is to inspire and pave the way for future generations by being an inspiration and a role model. I want to use my platform to show other kids that they do have positive role models that will look like them, within a space that is predominantly white. Kids should be confident to explore a sport where they can thrive in it, and hopefully, create an environment and opportunities to help kids thrive and to continue to grow the sport of water polo, and ensure that it is an inclusive sport," he concluded.
To learn more about American water polo player Max Irving, follow him on Instagram.
For more information on USA Water Polo, check out its official homepage.
American water polo player Max Irving
American water polo player Max Irving
Orange Pictures, USA Water Polo
More about Max Irving, water polo, USA, American
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